US to help Ukraine get more tanks – media
Washington will act as an intermediary to help deliver Soviet-made tanks to Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Friday, quoting a customary unnamed US official. Kiev has been pleading with the West to supply it with heavier weapons since the start of the Russian military campaign, in late February.
The source told the paper that the transfers will begin soon, but declined to specify how many tanks will be sent, or which countries they will come from. Ukrainians are generally familiar with the Soviet-era hardware, which would mean they will need less training in its use.
The news comes a week after President Volodymyr Zelensky asked NATO for “one percent” of its tanks and aircraft. Western countries have been shipping anti-tank missiles to Kiev, but Ukrainian officials are saying it is not enough to fend off the Russian troops.
On Friday, Germany approved the transfer of 56 PbV-501 armored combat vehicles to Ukraine. The vehicles, built in the former East Germany, and designed in the 1960s, are currently owned by a Czech company.
Moscow attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev says the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.